Imagine 10 islands located in a sprawling reservoir, with cruise boats and hot air balloons to ferry tourists. You get an idea of Jal Mahotsav, or water festival. Madhya Pradesh, India's largest state by area, is all set to host the festival this winter.
The month-long festival begins on December 15 at Hanumantiya in Khandwa district, which is famous, among other things, as the birthplace of celebrated Bollywood singer Kishore Kumar.
Hanumantiya, which is being sold as a water tourism destination by the MP government, is an island on the Indira Sagar Dam on the Narmada river. Built over an 11-year period from 1992, the Indira Sagar reservoir is one of the largest in India, with a capacity to hold as much as 12.22 billion cubic metres of water.
"The festival aims to make people aware of tourism at such water bodies," said Surendra Gupta, an official of the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation.
Officials say the Jal Mahotsav could mark an experience of a lifetime. Three cruise boats, including a large one and two hot air balloons will be available for tourists this year at the festival, which is being stretched from its original 10 days to a month as MP gets more ambitious about attracting people to water tourism.
The first Jal Mahotsav was held last February, and is said to have received an encouraging response.